Even before Patrick became a subject for whispered medical consultation I had lobbied to forego the big kid-filled birthday party this year. He was supposed to be at invention camp last week (missed the whole thing, poor pumpkin) so I suggested we have our good friends over for cake and pizza after camp on the actual day and then he could pick a friend to do something Fun (waterpark, amusement park, Science museum, whatever he wanted) that weekend. He decided that he wanted to go ride roller coasters at the mall of America and we realized that doing so on a Monday was infinitely smarter than on a Saturday; so Steve took the day off today and that is what they did.
The cake turned out well - provided you define "well" as "that which made Patrick happy" - largely because I let him do most of it himself. I made the cake and cut off the rubbery edges (Steve looked at me like I was either brilliant or insane - "you can, just, cheat... like that? make it look all even with a knife rather than bake skills?") and I made the buttercream and then I handed Patrick the food coloring. The yellow looked like the yolk of a hard-boiled egg and the purple reminded me of a guest bedroom in our old house and Patrick said that they were both perfect. Then he and I used the decorating bag together and looped and swirled our way through Happy Birthday Patrick. Then we transformed a few accidental blobs into a 7 and an exclamation point. Then we made the 7 into a 7th because I brushed my elbow against the cake right there. Art is change.
Patrick is feeling better and I have that blinky disoriented sense I get when I see a matinée. You know? When you walk out into the sunshine and you have a hard time finding your bearings. In retrospect it is obvious that Patrick was sick for weeks and weeks and weeks. All of these little pieces that I noticed in passing (like the fact that for two months I could never seem to brush his teeth enough to get them clean? that would be because his entire head had become the Tokyo of bacteria) all fit neatly together now to form a picture of The Dawning of a Serious Bacterial Infection. For once, though, I am not beating myself up about the oh! I should have done! We kept bringing him in; they kept checking him. What else can you do?
This is just idle gossip from the lab but in case you feel like playing Infectious Disease Specialist at home when we saw our pediatrician on Friday he gave me some of the numbers that influenced their decision to admit him. Patrick's white blood cell count was 18000, his sed rate was 72 and his c reactive protein (aka CRP to everyone but me since I could not for the life of me remember the letters in order and kept babbling to my brother about CPR; much to his confusion) was a whopping 150. None of these things meant anything to me but the doctor said the CRP was the highest he had ever seen in clinic and that Patrick must have felt like hell no matter how FINE and GREAT he kept insisting he was.
If nothing else I have concluded that Patrick is never to be trusted again when it comes to how he is feeling and for the next two months or so I plan on personally examining his tonsils at every opportunity with a miner's helmet and a crowbar if needed.
Caroline, speaking of our walking wounded, is suffering from some kind of post traumatic stress disorder when it comes to people and her face. I took her to get her bangs trimmed again and this time rather than admire herself and flip through a copy of Glamor she opened her mouth like a gigantic "O"and SCREAMED. Clearly she has yet to forget the stitches. And, before I forget, a few people in the comments (notably Cris. hi Cris!) educated me about young children and sedation. Apparently it can be done orally with a quick wear-off and a pleasant goofiness. Versed, I think it was called. So, you know, if it helps you and I hope it does.
Edward has eczema on his eyelids and legs and he is cutting two more teeth. Although technically neither ailment falls particularly high on the family's trauma scoreboard for the month of June they are his and he is making the most of them. I cannot for the life of me figure out how to make the eyelids feel better, although cortisone has almost cleared up the stuff on his legs. I trimmed his nails as short as possible to try to help with the King Lear look he is sporting but obviously it is uncomfortable and like Barbara Fritchie, Edward likes to scratch when he is itchy. Any thoughts on the eyelid eczema would be appreciated. We are seeing the pediatrician tomorrow (it's their eighteen month well child check, although the doctor asked me to bring Patrick along too - no appointment needed for him; just to check him over before our vacation) but ya'll always have such clever ideas about such things.
Hey, this has nothing to do with anything but I might as well ask: how much do you pay for your electricity every month, on average? I have been fighting with the electric company for months now but they keep baffling me with their rotating calendar and fluctuating kilowatt pricing and I don't know what else. They claimed our meter was broken so they came out and replaced it in February and the next month billed us $900. NINE hundred dollars for the month, which (considering the fact that we have gas heat and cannot be seen from fucking space) seemed a little outrageous to me. They said that this included underbilling from the previous four months but I went through every electric bill we have had for five years and pointed out that even so it represented a hundred percent increase over the same rough time period from previous years. They said don't be silly. They said that cannot be right. They said well maybe but you know prices have gone up. They said they had something boiling over on the stove and they would have to get back to me later. Steve and I have been virtuous about turning off every light in the house that is not in use. We do not use the central air conditioning. We unplugged the hot tub for the season. And still our last electric bill was over $300. I think we are being robbed at bulb point but I would love to get a global comparison, the better to ginger up my dander for my next call to corporate.
Is that it? Let's see, Patrick better and seven; the starting point for Caroline's metamorphosis into Cousin It noted; Edward itches, damn it; electric company steals from hard-working family because they can... yep, I think that covers it.
[Except: we are going on vacation on Saturday and I am so excited I can hardly wait. Not the 5:30 am departure part; or the traveling with not one but two 18 month olds; or the fact that we can no longer fit into a modest rented compact but need to reserve some sort of circus caravan... but everything else. Very excited.]
PS From today:
Between Edward dressing her and Patrick's affection for decorating her with bows, Caroline is going to start to feel like her brothers' own personal Cabbage Patch Kid.